PART6. Introduction to Krabi Krabong and Eskrima stick fighting

I have been quickly introduced to 4 very different martial arts styles. The first being Krabi Krabong the Thai weapons art. I have been learning the various strike sets and blocks. Vin and I practice the 2 person set movements and sometimes we put on fencing masks and take up kendo swords which are long and made from bamboo. We practice free style but not at full power. Getting a belt from a bamboo sword is an interesting feeling. Its sharp and it stings, much more than a punch or kick does.

I have found in the sparring I favor my lead leg forward and mainly fighting like a fencer. Vin on the other and is much more skilled using the traditional stance with the shield leg forward. The first time we practiced sparring we only had swords and I felt like I had the upper hand against Vin but as soon as we put the shields on Vin dominated.

At this stage in my training I am still finding it hard to successfully coordinate the sword and shield effectively. I find it’s just easier to focus on a sword. Vin practices the dance which involves a salute and picking up of the sword and shield before rising to his feet and performing a sequence of strikes and blocks, a little like a kata. I have not learnt the dance yet.

Here is a more detailed view on Krabi krabong from Wikipedia

The second martial art I have been introduced to is Eskrima. The Philippian fighting art. It involves knife, stick and empty hand training. The style which Nigel teacher is Eskrima de campo from Eric Olavides in the Philippians.

The art is quiet secretive and in fact Nigel has only taught us the basics. He said if we really want to learn the advanced stuff we would have to meet Eric Olavides to be allowed. From what I have learnt it’s very accurate and focuses on long range. Whereas in other eskrima styles you leave some of the handle sticking out from your grip so you can use it to strike but in De campo your grip goes almost to the very end of the stick so you can get as much reach with your weapon.

The striking sets are very calculated and we practice them slowly trying to get each one in a perfectly straight line. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line so if your stick is waving or traveling in a curve you waste time and reach.

One of the drills which I utterly loath is when Vin or I wears a padded glove and holds onto our stick. We move around slowly which the other one rapidly strikes the others hand as hard and as fast as they can for a minute. It’s a scary experience and although the glove does stop most of the strikes force the occasional one hits a knuckle and it becomes painful to grip your stick. This is a good training method as one of the Eskrima techniques is to strike you opponents hand so he drops his weapon. At the end of a training session I have to pry my stick out of my hand. My hand is stiff and clenches up like a gnarled claw.

Here is a link to the Escerma De campo web site

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